IRL: Indy500: Schroeder heads for Indy

VINELAND, N.J., April 20 - "A party to send local star athlete Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., off to the Indy 500 will be held tomorrow night beginning at 8 p.m. at The Eastside Cafe on Lincoln Ave. in Vineland. Schroeder will...

VINELAND, N.J., April 20 - "A party to send local star athlete Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., off to the Indy 500 will be held tomorrow night beginning at 8 p.m. at The Eastside Cafe on Lincoln Ave. in Vineland.

Schroeder will attempt to make his third consecutive start in the world's largest single-day sporting event next month when the 85th running of the Indy 500 gets the green flag on Sunday, May 27. His Dallara, #9, is fielded by Indianapolis-based PDM Racing, and is sponsored in part by Purity Products, Summit Packaging and Graph to Graphics.

The public is invited. There is no cover charge, but party-goers must be 21 to attend and proper dress and ID are required.

Schroeder will be available to sign autographs from approximately 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Music, snacks, drinks, door prizes, T-shirts and tricycle races will be part of the festivities.

Two Indy 500 banners autographed by Schroeder will be raffled off at the party to benefit two different charities: the East Vineland Little League and the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation.

Schroeder played in that league as a boy and his nephews play in it now. They're trying to raise funds for improvements to their ballfields and equipment.

Schroeder raced with Schmidt, who is recovering from serious spinal cord injuries suffered in an Indy car crash on Jan. 6, 2000, in both the U.S. Formula 2000 series and the Indy Racing League. Schmidt is now an Indy Racing League team owner, and through the foundation he raises funds for treatments for paralysis patients and medical research in that area.

Area businesses and individuals contributing to the party include: Clean Chem; Landmark Builders; Harris Auto Body; The High Rollers; Neptune Restaur ant; Sir Speedy of Vineland; E V R Screenprinting;, The Eastside Cafe; Douglas Arthur Salon; B & B Poultry Co.; Larry DiSalvio, CPA; J & T Building; J & J Carpeting; Jim Hewitt; the Schroeder family; Pennbrooke Orthodontics and John Mainero, Chiropractor.

Before Schroeder departs for the Indy 500 he'll actually leave for Atlanta, as his next race is the Atlanta 500 Classic next Saturday night, April 28, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. That race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Indy 500 is actually a month-long festival which begins when the track officially opens for practice on Sunday, May 6.

As of April 17th, the following times and dates are the scheduled program slots for all upcoming IRL and Indianapolis 500 television programming (subject to change):

-Linda Mansfield

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Schmidt